Not Quite

His name was Almost, but we called him “Not Quite”.  He was tall, all awkward elbows and knees, as only a sixteen-year-old can be.  Wore his hair neatly cut, unlike many of that time.  He had dark, brooding eyes and a hawkish nose, and he was my boyfriend.

We were both cast in the high school play.  I was the lead – bubbly, outgoing, and comical; he played a crotchety old man, sporadically scripted to add extra humour.  We spent long hours in rehearsal together, and eventually he asked me out.

He loved Don McLean’s American Pie, like to brood about what was wrong in the world, and mourned his dead Grandfather.  His need for me was more tragedy, and I, often likened to sunshine, felt called to cheer him up.

Ten months in, I went to the doctor with hives from head to toe.

“Do you have a boyfriend, Toots?”  The doctor, who’d helped me come into the world, always called me Toots.

“Yes,” I answered, wondering what that had to do with anything.

“Is he good to you?”

“Well…he doesn’t like it when I’m too loud; tells me I’m obnoxious.  And he is kind of moody.”

“Dump him!” he exclaimed.  “These bumps are a sure sign of oppression.  Get a boyfriend who likes you for you and this mess will clear up.”

Of course, I didn’t listen to the doctor at first – thought he was an old kook – but, sure enough, once I broke free of Not Quite, the hives disappeared.

Guess I learned three lessons:  1) never settle for almost love; 2) doctors know what they’re talking about, and; 3) the body doesn’t lie.

(Written for The Daily Post prompt: almost.  Image: usseek.com)

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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